Qantas Freight Enterprises has announced that it intends to lease a Boeing 747-400ER Freighter that will be operated by its Express Freighters Australia subsidiary.
The airline says that the aircraft will replace a 747-400F operated by US freight carrier Atlas Air. Atlas wet leases three 747-400Fs to Qantas, which are primarily used on services between Australia, China and the USA.
The aircraft is expected to enter service by the end of this year.
"This is a near-new freighter aircraft that will help us provide a better service for our customers and reduce costs," says Qantas Freight executive manager Lisa Brock.
"Qantas Freight now has a 5% share of the cargo market from China to the USA, flying from both Shanghai and Chongqing. We have a strong presence in other parts of Asia and New Zealand, and our investment in this aircraft underlines our commitment to these regions."
Qantas has not disclosed which lessor will supply the aircraft. Flightglobal's Ascend Online database shows that there are six 747-400ERFs in storage, of which most were operated by now defunct Chinese carrier Jade Cargo International.
Express Freighters Australia's fleet comprises four 737-300CFs which are used on domestic services and one 767-300ERF for trans-Tasman services.
Qantas Freight also wet leases freighter aircraft from Cobham Aviation Services Australia and Regional Express subsidiary Pel-Air. It manages the belly freight capacity on Qantas and Jetstar passenger services.